Now that we’re past Easter Sunday, I can take a moment to write a blog (eg. get on a soap-box, as the case may be…).
It strikes me that, with the new atheist movement, most of its ‘legs’ are based on out-dated, stereotype-based conceptions of what Christianity is. A recent example of this, in my experience, is of a posting on Facebook where a ‘demotivational poster’ with a picture of a crucifix, has the caption: “Easter: a day when we convince ourselves that someone with the ability to come back to life is actually making a sacrifice when they die.” Now, had this been posted by someone with no knowledge of a more progressive view of the faith, I could have understood it; but it was posted by someone who knows that there are other views, and still defended their posting of it. So, I take it as perpetuating poor stereotypes (which is ignorance), or an outright offensive slight to people who don’t believe that way (including myself).
To my mind, if we’re to work at dispelling poor stereotypes and dismantling ignorance, we need to let go of our previously-held notions. There is no excuse.
If I knew better and still were to say something racist, for example, and have someone call me on it, and then justify my action by saying, “well, there are lots of people who believe that, or who have believed that” – wouldn’t that simply be an offensive and ignorant thing to do? (In effect, wouldn’t I simply be justifying a racist behaviour?) Say nothing of how it actually works against a desire that people not be so ignorant.
Anyway… that is my rant for today. A point that I would like to make, and something into which I would like to invite our church, is that we must find new and intentional ways of articulating what we believe. There are many out there who want to be more enlightened; there may even be some who are receptive to a faith-perspective that is theologically-sound. When it comes to dialogue with our atheist neighbours, I think we need to be able to speak about what we believe, how that affects our living, and even call them on their perpetuating of ignorance when they do it.